De novo reconstruction of the Toxoplasma gondii transcriptome improves on the current genome annotation and reveals alternatively spliced transcripts and putative long non-coding RNAs.
ABSTRACT: Accurate gene model predictions and annotation of alternative splicing events are imperative for genomic studies in organisms that contain genes with multiple exons. Currently most gene models for the intracellular parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, are based on computer model predictions without cDNA sequence verification. Additionally, the nature and extent of alternative splicing in Toxoplasma gondii is unknown. In this study, we used de novo transcript assembly and the published type II (ME49) genomic sequence to quantify the extent of alternative splicing in Toxoplasma and to improve the current Toxoplasma gene annotations.We used high-throughput RNA-sequencing data to assemble full-length transcripts, independently of a reference genome, followed by gene annotation based on the ME49 genome. We assembled 13,533 transcripts overlapping with known ME49 genes in ToxoDB and then used this set to; a) improve the annotation in the untranslated regions of ToxoDB genes, b) identify novel exons within protein-coding ToxoDB genes, and c) report on 50 previously unidentified alternatively spliced transcripts. Additionally, we assembled a set of 2,930 transcripts not overlapping with any known ME49 genes in ToxoDB. From this set, we have identified 118 new ME49 genes, 18 novel Toxoplasma genes, and putative non-coding RNAs.RNA-seq data and de novo transcript assembly provide a robust way to update incompletely annotated genomes, like the Toxoplasma genome. We have used RNA-seq to improve the annotation of several Toxoplasma genes, identify alternatively spliced genes, novel genes, novel exons, and putative non-coding RNAs.
Project description:UNLABELLED:Toxoplasma gondii ME49 is an obligatory intracellular apicomplexa parasite that causes toxoplasmosis in humans, domesticated and wild animals. Waterborne outbreaks of acute toxoplasmosis worldwide reinforce the transmission of Toxoplasma gondii ME49 to humans through contaminated water and may have a greater epidemiological impact than previously believed. In the quest for drug and vaccine target identification subtractive genomics involving subtraction between the host and pathogen genome has been implemented for enlisting essential pathogen specific proteins. Using this approach, our analysis on both human and Toxoplasma gondii ME49 reveals that out of 7987 protein coding sequences of the pathogen, 950 represent essential non human-homologous proteins. Subcellular localization prediction & comparative-biochemical pathway analysis of these essential proteins gives a list of apicoplast-associated proteins having unique pathogen-specific metabolic pathway. These apicoplast-associated enzymes involved in fatty acid biosynthesis pathway of Toxoplasma gondii ME49, may be used as potential drug targets, as the pathway is vital for the protozoan's survival. Structure prediction of drug target proteins was done using fold based recognition method. Screening of the functional inhibitors against these novel targets may result in discovery of novel therapeutic compounds that can be effective against Toxoplasma gondii ME49. ABBREVIATIONS:DEG - Database of Essential Gene, KEGG - Kyoto Encyclopaedia of Genes and Genomes, KAAS - KEGG Automated Annotation Server, PFP - Protein Function Prediction, COG - Cluster of Orthologous Genes.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Toxoplasma gondii, as a eukaryotic parasite of the phylum Apicomplexa, can infect almost all the warm-blooded animals and humans, causing toxoplasmosis. Rhoptry neck proteins (RONs) play a key role in the invasion process of T. gondii and are potential vaccine candidate molecules against toxoplasmosis. METHODS:The present study examined sequence variation in the rhoptry neck protein 10 (TgRON10) gene among 10 T. gondii isolates from different hosts and geographical locations from Lanzhou province during 2014, and compared with the corresponding sequences of strains ME49 and VEG obtained from the ToxoDB database, using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification, sequence analysis, and phylogenetic reconstruction by Bayesian inference (BI) and maximum parsimony (MP). RESULTS:Analysis of all the 12 TgRON10 genomic and cDNA sequences revealed 7 exons and 6 introns in the TgRON10 gDNA. The complete genomic sequence of the TgRON10 gene ranged from 4759 bp to 4763 bp, and sequence variation was 0-0.6% among the 12 T. gondii isolates, indicating a low sequence variation in TgRON10 gene. Phylogenetic analysis of TgRON10 sequences showed that the cluster of the 12 T. gondii isolates was not completely consistent with their respective genotypes. CONCLUSION:TgRON10 gene is not a suitable genetic marker for the differentiation of T. gondii isolates from different hosts and geographical locations, but may represent a potential vaccine candidate against toxoplasmosis, worth further studies.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Toxoplasma gondii is one of the most important apicomplexan parasites and infects one-third of the human population worldwide. Transformation between the tachyzoite and bradyzoite stages in the intermediate host is central to chronic infection and life-long risk. There have been some transcriptome studies on T. gondii; however, we are still early in our understanding of the kinds and levels of gene expression that occur during the conversion between stages. RESULTS:We used high-throughput RNA-sequencing data to assemble transcripts using genome-based and de novo strategies. The expression-level analysis of 6996 T. gondii genes showed that over half (3986) were significantly differentially expressed during stage conversion, whereas 2205 genes were upregulated, and 1778 genes were downregulated in tachyzoites compared with bradyzoites. Several important gene families were expressed at relatively high levels. Comprehensive functional annotation and gene ontology analysis revealed that stress response-related genes are important for survival of bradyzoites in immune-competent hosts. We compared Trinity-based de novo and genome-based strategies, and found that the de novo assembly strategy compensated for the defects of the genome-based strategy by filtering out several transcripts with low expression or those unannotated on the genome. We also found some inaccuracies in the ToxoDB gene models. In addition, our analysis revealed that alternative splicing can be differentially regulated in response to life-cycle change. In depth analysis revealed a 20-nt, AG-rich sequence, alternative splicing locus from alt_acceptor motif search in tachyzoite. CONCLUSION:This study represents the first large-scale effort to sequence the transcriptome of bradyzoites from T. gondii tissue cysts. Our data provide a comparative view of the tachyzoite and bradyzoite transcriptomes to allow a more complete dissection of all the molecular regulation mechanisms during stage conversions. A better understanding of the processes regulating stage conversion may guide targeted interventions to disrupt the transmission of T. gondii.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Toxoplasma gondii is an apicomplexan protozoan parasite that can cause serious clinical illnesses in both humans and animals. microRNAs (miRNAs) are non-protein-coding RNAs that can regulate the expression of target genes. A previous study found that many miRNAs were differentially expressed after T. gondii infection and exert significant effects and revealed that both host survival and the virulence of different strains can be regulated by different miRNAs. Macrophages play an important role in T. gondii infection, but few studies have investigated the relationship between miRNAs and porcine alveolar macrophages infected with T. gondii. METHODS:Porcine alveolar macrophages (3D4-21) were infected with the RH (Type I) and Me49 (Type II) strains of T. gondii for 12 h and 24 h and then harvested. miRNA libraries were generated using the NEBNext® Multiplex Small RNA Library Prep Set for Illumina® (NEB, USA), and the miRNA expression levels were estimated based on transcripts per million reads (TPM). RESULTS:Our study generated six miRNA expression profiles from macrophages infected with RH and Me49 compared with the control groups. The comparison of the T. gondii-infected and uninfected samples identified 81 differentially expressed miRNAs, including 36 novel miRNAs and 45 mature miRNAs. The target genes of these differentially expressed miRNAs were predicted using miRanda software, and ssc-miR-127 and ssc-miR-143-3p were predicted to regulate nitric oxide synthase 1 (NOS1) and nitric oxide synthase 3 (NOS3), respectively, which play essential roles in synthesizing nitric oxide (NO) by oxidizing L-arginine. These genes were differentially expressed in both the RH- and Me49-infected groups. A KEGG enrichment analysis indicated that the predicted target genes were involved in multiple signaling pathways, including Fc?R-mediated phagocytosis, the AMPK signaling pathway, the mTOR signaling pathway, and the Fc?RI signaling pathway, all of which are indispensable for the normal functioning of porcine alveolar macrophages. CONCLUSIONS:Our results provide data on the miRNA profile of porcine alveolar macrophages infected with T. gondii. To our knowledge, this study provides the first demonstration of the relationship between miRNA and macrophages of swine origin. Understanding the functions of these regulated miRNAs will aid the investigation of T. gondii infectious diseases, and the differentially expressed miRNAs might be candidate drug targets for T. gondii infection in pigs.
Project description:Toxoplasma gondii is a protozoan parasite, occurring worldwide, endangers human health and causes enormous economic losses to the Ministry of Agriculture. A safe and effective vaccination is needed to handle these problems. In addition, ideal vaccine production is a challenge in the future. In this study, we knocked out the adenylosuccinate lyase (ADSL) gene and found that the gene reduces the growth rate of T. gondii tachyzoites in vitro under standard growth conditions by plaque or replication experiments. Furthermore, mice that were immunized with tachyzoites of the ME49?ADSL strain induced 100% protection efficacy against challenge with the type 1 strain RH, type 2 strain ME49 and type 3 strain VEG. All mice that were immunized with ME49?ADSL had a survival rate of 100% when they were reinfected with wild-type strains, either 30 days or 70 days after immunization, and immunization was also protective against homologous infection with 50 T. gondii ME49 tissue cysts. In addition, the level of Toxoplasma-specific IgG was significantly elevated at 30 and 70 days after immunization. ME49?ADSL induced high levels of Th1 cytokines (interferon gamma (IFN-?), interleukin (IL)-12) at 4 weeks after immunization and spleen cell cultures from mice vaccinated for 150 days were able to produce robust INF-? and IL-12 levels in the supernatant. The results of the present study showed that ?ADSL vaccination induced a T. gondii-specific cellular immune response against further infections. These results suggest that the ADSL-deficient vaccine can induce anti-Toxoplasma gondii humoral and cellular immune responses and has 100% immune protection against post-challenge by the type 1 strain RH, type 2 strain ME49 and type 3 strain VEG. It will be used as an excellent candidate for live vaccines and may contribute in a positive meaning to control human toxoplasmosis.
Project description:Toxoplasmosis is a widespread parasitic infection by Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite with at least three distinct clonal lineages. This article reports the whole genome sequencing and de novo assembly of T. gondii RH (type I representative strain), as well as genome-wide comparison across major T. gondii lineages. Genomic DNA was extracted from tachyzoites of T. gondii RH strain and its identity was verified by PCR and LAMP. Subsequently, whole genome sequencing was performed, followed by sequence filtering, genome assembly, gene annotation assignments, clustering of gene orthologs and phylogenetic tree construction. Genome comparison was done with the already archived genomes of T. gondii. From this study, the genome size of T. gondii RH strain was found to be 69.35Mb, with a mean GC content of 52%. The genome shares high similarity to the archived genomes of T. gondii GT1, ME49 and VEG strains. Nevertheless, 111 genes were found to be unique to T. gondii RH strain. Importantly, unique genes annotated to functions that are potentially critical for T. gondii virulence were found, which may explain the unique phenotypes of this particular strain. This report complements the genomic archive of T. gondii. Data obtained from this study contribute to better understanding of T. gondii and serve as a reference for future studies on this parasite.
Project description:Drosophila melanogaster is one of the most well studied genetic model organisms; nonetheless, its genome still contains unannotated coding and non-coding genes, transcripts, exons and RNA editing sites. Full discovery and annotation are pre-requisites for understanding how the regulation of transcription, splicing and RNA editing directs the development of this complex organism. Here we used RNA-Seq, tiling microarrays and cDNA sequencing to explore the transcriptome in 30 distinct developmental stages. We identified 111,195 new elements, including thousands of genes, coding and non-coding transcripts, exons, splicing and editing events, and inferred protein isoforms that previously eluded discovery using established experimental, prediction and conservation-based approaches. These data substantially expand the number of known transcribed elements in the Drosophila genome and provide a high-resolution view of transcriptome dynamics throughout development.
Project description:The felids are the only definitive hosts of Toxoplasma gondii, which could excrete oocysts into the environment and provide an infection source for toxoplasmosis in various warm-blooded animal species, particularly the captive felids that live close to human communities. The infection rate of the captive felids is a perfect standard in detecting the presence of Toxoplasma gondii oocysts in the environment. In this study, sera or tissue samples from zoo (1 young tiger, 2 adult tigers, 6 young lions), farm (10 masked palm civets), and pet hospital (28 cats) from Henan Province (China) were collected. The sera (n = 47) were tested for immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies against T. gondii by using modified agglutination test (MAT), whereas the hearts tissue (n = 40) were bioassayed in mice to isolate T. gondii strains. The genotype was distinguished by using PCR-RFLP of 10 loci (SAG1, SAG2, SAG3, GRA6, BTUB, L358, c22-8, PK1, c29-2, and Apico). The detection rate for the T. gondii antibody in captive felids was 21.3% (10/47). One viable T. gondii strain (TgCatCHn4) was obtained from a cat heart tissue, and its genotype was ToxoDB#9. The oocysts of ToxoDB#9 were collected from a T. gondii-free cat. The virulence of TgCatCHn4 was low and no cysts were detected in the brain of mice at 60 days post-inoculation. The finding of the present study suggested a widespread exposure of T. gondii for felids in Henan Province of central China, particularly those from the zoological gardens and homes. ToxoDB#9 was the predominant strain in China. Preventive measures against T. gondii oocyst contamination of various components of the environment should thus be implemented, including providing pre-frozen meat, well-cooked cat food, cleaned fruits and vegetables, monitoring birds and rodents, inactive T. gondii oocysts in felids feces, and proper hygiene.
Project description:Marsupials are highly susceptible to Toxoplasma gondii infection. Here, we report T. gondii infection in four kangaroos from a zoo in China. Kangaroos were imported into China in 2000 and were since bred in zoo. In 2017-2018, four kangaroos died due to respiratory system disease or injury. The bodies were submitted to the laboratory to test for T. gondii infection. Antibodies to T. gondii were found in 75% (3/4) of the kangaroos via the modified agglutination test with the cut-off 1:25. Cysts were observed in the histopathological sections of tongue and diaphragm or squashes of fresh myocardium in two kangaroos. These cysts were confirmed as T. gondii by immunohistochemical staining and molecular biological analysis. One viable T. gondii strain was isolated from one kangaroo and designated as TgRooCHn1. DNA from T. gondii tachyzoites obtained from cell culture was characterized by 10 PCR-RFLP markers and the virulence genes ROP5 and ROP18. The genotype of this isolate did not match with any known genotypes; it was designated as ToxoDB#292. The virulence of TgRooCHn1 (104 tachyzoites) was non-lethal to mice, and it formed tissue cysts. To our knowledge, the present study is the first isolation of ToxoDB#292 strain from kangaroo. Improvemets for captive settings were initiated, including greater attention being paied to birds and stray cats, fed frozen meat for carnivores.